it has been many years since I have skied where avalanches are a real risk. I did set off one avalanche on Jake's Peak on the north side of emerald bay (lake tahoe) when I was 17 years old. I was lucky though, I was not caught in the avalanche. One thing that amazes me is that, though back country skiers wear helmets now, they don't seem to wear the full face mask with visor. It would seem to be a good idea to have that little air pocket around your face rather than having your mouth and nose packed with snow.